A few weeks ago, national leaders gathered at Glasgow for the COP26 conference,There was a sense that there was progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
The President Joe Biden assured the world that America is committed towards a greener future. This is the moment to answer history’s call regarding the green deals that will be made at the conference, said Biden.
Antnio Guterres of the U.N., citing nearly 200 countries signing the document, said that the conference was disappointing on many fronts.
This is a significant step, but it is not enough. We must accelerate climate action if we want to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. [Celsius], He said. He also highlighted important goals still to be achieved, including ending fossil-fuel subsidies, phasing off coal, putting an end to carbon pricing, protecting vulnerable communities, as well as delivering the $100 billion climate finance pledge.
This disappointment could be accompanied by rollbacks of environmental regulations in the U.S.
At least 73 broad-reaching environmental regulations were repealed since the outbreak of the pandemic. 29 regulations remain in effect. These will likely to mitigate the continuing economic effects of COVID-19 lockdowns as well as an artificially induced recession.
The following rollbacks are still in force:
The Environmental Protection Agency will no more require disinfectant manufacturers that they have received approval for changes to certain ingredient suppliers, or for changes in ingredients. This rollback has already caused huge problems FDA recalls Use products containing benzene to protect your health. DailyIn a manufacturing plant. Where have there been massive recalls related to benzene? These recalls were mostly for hand sanitizers that were manufactured during the pandemic.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final interim rule that delayed adjusting the civil penalty amount for auto makers that fail to meet fuel efficiency standards. This rollback has been in effect despite President Biden’s recent goal to increase mileage and fuel efficiency rules.
Georgia has reopened the polluting medical sterilization unit that was closed due to concerns about high levels of carcinogenic ethylene dioxide.
Hawaii waived its air-quality compliance requirements. COVID-19 was cited as the reason for an unavoidable situation of non-compliance in air pollution for a regulated entity.
New York has exempted emergency construction from environmental review. New York also canceled the Restore Month Nature Bond Act which would have issued $3Billion in state bonds to support resilience-building measures. This policy effectively removes the economic incentive to invest in environmentally-conscious practices.
Jason Shogren, the Stroock Chair for natural resource management and economics at University of Wyoming, stated that these rollbacks will stop innovation that benefits the environment.
These regulations must be in place to encourage innovation. Shogren said that people are not likely to invent and create more pollution-reducing technologies if there isn’t a financial incentive to do so.
Why is it so important?
There is a disconnect between the Biden administration’s claims about a greener environment, and the reality of increased environmental rollbacks.
These rollbacks beg to the question: Do environmental regulations only apply in strong economies?
This idea is not new. The 15 countries with the worst environmental policies are also the poorest in the world. Countries. Because their basic needs are met, wealthier nations can afford to care for the environment.
Since COVID-19 lockdowns were enacted, poaching, illegal harvesting, and killing endangered species have risen dramatically around the globe. People either hungry for food or eagerly exploit a distracted government to hunt giraffes and tigers at accelerating rates, according to a spokesperson from CFACT, or the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. This Washington, D.C-based organization focuses on Stewardship of the environment.
The World Economic ForumPoaching endangered species can harm the biodiversity of the environment, particularly if it leads to its extinction.
Wealthier nations have cleaner environment. CFACT said that anyone who can remove the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on the environment should be applauded.
Shogren agrees with the statement that a stronger economy will lead to a better environment.
The Environmental Kuznets Curve summarizes the argument. Pollution goes up as the economy expands. When we become wealthy enough to fix the problems, it starts going down. It’s like an inverted U. Shogren stated that the higher you climb this hill of pollution, the more prosperous your economy becomes.
Jesse H. Ausubel is an environmental scientist who cites a specific example. He believes that the cap of $6,200 GDP per person in 2021 dollars is sufficient to prevent deforestation from continuing or create new forests. This idea is evident in richer nations like the U.S. and Europe, where there are many more trees than 100 years ago. Deforestation is increasing in poorer countries.
The environment is a key factor in an economy’s growth. Shogren stated that trying to do both simultaneously has been slow.
Ben Bostick, an associate professor at Columbia Universitys Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory takes exception to this thesis. He believes it is the wrong approach. We have created a dichotomy in our society. Either you care about the economy or the environment.
This idea permeates all levels of society. There is an economic cost to environmental protection, and there is an environment benefit to economic loss. He stated that both are likely to be less well-rounded in the basics.
So why is the environment being targeted by national, state, and local governments?
What else can be done to jump-start the economy’s growth? There are two sides to the coin. One, you can reduce the restrictions that are causing industries’ slowdown. Another option is to reduce benefits for workers. It is difficult to do. People can complain. Those who have had their benefits reduced or safety standards changed will be vocal. Shogren stated that the environment does not speak for itself.
It is unclear how long the U.S. regulatory rollbacks on environmental issues will last or if they will lead to an economic upturn.
In a comment relating the environmental regulation rollbacks, EPA stated: The COVID-19 Pandemic has limited EPA’s ability in the field to inspect, requiring EPA use of existing and novel tools to improve its off-site monitoring to protect public safety.
However, the agency stated that EPA continued to initiate enforcement actions based on inspections made in the pre-COVID-19 year as well as offsite monitoring tools.
Edited by Fern Siegel & Bryan Wilkes